Sustainable box cleaner Scherpenhuizen

At this moment (April 2017), the new distribution centre of Scherpenhuizen is being completed. Scherpenhuizen is a company that is specialized in the import and export of vegetables, fruit and exotics. The new DC spans a surface of 40000 m2 and is built in a completely sustainable way, which includes the energy-supply.

The theme of sustainability also applies to the production hall of the DC. Limex has recently delivered the latest model box washing machine, the KKW6000NS, for sustainable cleaning of boxes. Sustainable means here that the water is heated up through the rest heat of the cooling system. ‘It was one of Scherpenhuizens’ demands’ , explains Joep Janssen, engineering manager at Limex. Janssen: ‘Because we were involved in the project from an early stage, we took their (Scherpenhuizen, ed.) wishes into account in engineering, by introducing reuse of water and making use of thermal energy’.

Rest heat

Mid March the new Limex box washing machine will be installed. ‘This box washing machine extensively cleans up to 100 harvest crates per hour’, Janssen explains. ‘The crates come from vegetable farmers themselves, and are stored in a buffer after the processing of the vegetables they carried.’ The box washing machine starts running only when there is a sufficient number of crates in the buffer. First, the water is heated in the washing tank, by using the rest heat that comes from the cooling cells. This heating water has a relatively low temperature. To carry over a sufficient amount of energy, the box washing machine has been equipped with ‘Limex tube heat exchangers’. These heat exchangers retrieve a large percentage of heat for the heating of the washing water, that ends up having a constant temperature of 50 degrees Celsius.

Boxenwasser Scherpenhuizen 2
Installation box cleaner Scherpenhuizen

Washing proces

In the washing tunnel the crates are sprayed under high pressure (8 bar), with water that has a low concentration of cleaning agent. After that the crates are rinsed off, and are moved to the draining area. This way of cleaning avoids that fungi (which could be present in the soil from which the vegetables were harvested), stay behind in the crates and cause diseases. ‘We have extensive experience in this area, and our installations have the right technical aspects to remove organic parts and fungi. However, every situation is different’, Janssen claims. ‘In this project we have, together with Scherpenhuizen, developed a cleaning system that consists of a combination of pressure, temperature, cleaning agent and contact time. This way Scherpenhuizen can guarantee that the crates are clean and fungus free when they go back to the growers.


During the washing process the box washing machine is continuously monitored on water temperature, water level, pumps, the level of cleaning agent in the water and the number of cleaned products. The machine has its own operation system that is coupled to the operation of the buffer lanes and the stacker. To avoid influence of the air and humidity in the production hall on the machine, the machine is placed in a seperate cabine, with its own air flow system. With the installation of this box washing machine Limex does an important contribution to the sustainability ambitions of Scherpenhuizen.

Source: article in Dutch magazine ‘Logistiek & verpakking’, April 2017

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